Take Your Pick’s “Lost Girls” Delivers Laughs, Healing

 

LOST GIRLS – Written by John Pollono; Direction and Stage Design by Melanie Garber; Lighting Designer: Michael Clark Wonson; Sound Designer: Audrey Seraphin; Costume Coordinator: Mikey DiLoreto. Presented by Take Your Pick Productions at Deane Hall in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston through January 21.

 

There’s a Nor’easter preparing to slam New England, but in the city of Manchester, New Hampshire, there’s an everyday storm of bitterness that has raged for decades that’s about to come to a head in John Pollono’s engaging comic drama, Lost Girls. Take Your Pick Productions is giving this terrific slice-of-lifer it’s New England premiere with a three-dimensional staging that is alternately hilarious and painful.

Read more “Take Your Pick’s “Lost Girls” Delivers Laughs, Healing”

Apollinaire Theatre Company Journeys to the Russian Empire with “Three Sisters”

 

by James Wilkinson

 

Three Sisters – Written by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Tracey Letts. Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company. Directed, Sets and Lights by Danielle Fauteux Jacques. Costume Design by Elizabeth Rocha. Sound Design by Camilo Atehortua. Musical Direction by Demetrius Fuller & Robert Orzalli. Dialect Coach, Christopher Sherwood Davis. Presented by the Apollinaire Theatre Company at 189 Winnisimmet St, Chelsea through January 21

 

I have found that there’s a very odd phenomena in the theater community where the plays of Anton Chekhov are concerned. Everyone sort of assumes that everyone loves Chekhov (his work, that is). Personally, I’ve always run hot and cold with his plays, though I would be hard pressed to be able to put my finger on exactly why. I enjoy Uncle Vanya and a number of his comic sketches, but I haven’t been able to stomach getting through even a reading of either The Seagull or The Cherry Orchard since college. Three Sisters, however, has always stood apart in my mind. For some reason, that’s the play of his where all of the elements click together and the genius of Chekhov becomes apparent to me. I adore the play. When I walked into Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production of Three Sisters, now playing at Chelsea Theatre Works, I went with high expectations and can joyfully report back that the production more than met them. If you’ve never before encountered the work of the great Russian master, then Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production is a fantastic introduction.

Read more “Apollinaire Theatre Company Journeys to the Russian Empire with “Three Sisters””

Manual Cinema’s ‘Ada/Ava’ Uses Old School Technology to Present Haunting Tale at ArtsEmerson

 

by Mike Hoban

 

Ada/AvaCreated by Manual Theater; Directed by Drew Dir; Sound Design and Original Score by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman; Designed by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia Miller. Presented by Manual Cinema and ArtsEmerson at the Paramount Theatre, 559 Washington Street, Boston through January14th.

 

One of the great pleasures of being a theater reviewer in Boston is getting to see productions that push the boundaries of traditional theater, and nobody serves up such a mind-blowing amalgamation of cool stuff as ArtsEmerson, which continues to amaze with its latest offering, Ava/Ada. You’re not likely to see an overhead projector used as anything but a prop in any theatrical production these days, but Chicago-based Manual Cinema employs four of them as the primary technology to create a kind animated silent film that is alternately touching and unsettling. The projectors are used in conjunction with hundreds of shadow puppets and live action silhouettes, and the “movie” is supported by a killer live band (with a quadraphonic sound system) that establishes the haunting tone for this provocative work.

 

Read more “Manual Cinema’s ‘Ada/Ava’ Uses Old School Technology to Present Haunting Tale at ArtsEmerson”

“West Side Story” The Stadium Theatre

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Stadium Theatre’s current musical is “West Side Story”, the classic 1957 musical hit. Based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, the story is as fresh and meaningful to contemporary audiences as it was in 1591 for the original play as it was for the musical in the 1950’s. Hatred and violence don’t solve problems, they create new ones. Love and understanding of each other are the solutions for these problems, not only in both these shows but in real life, too. The well known story of Tony and Maria takes place in New York City. The outside forces of friends, enemies, gang members and adults keep them from fulfilling their dream of everlasting happiness due to hatred and bigotry. This talented cast under the insightful direction of Corey Cadigan, delivers the goods in a powerful and poignant presentation that has the audience leap to their feet at the curtain in this terrific and gut wrenching production. Musical director Henry Buck and choreographer Matthew Parello also do a splendid job. Henry with the seventeen piece orchestra and the vocals and some marvelous dances by Matthew including ballet, modern, jazz, mambo and salsa to name a few. The fabulous period 1950’s costumes are by Lauren Beaudoin while the set is by Wayne Boucher.

 

Read more ““West Side Story” The Stadium Theatre”

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH (Wilbury Theatre Group, Providence, RI)

 

by Tony Annicone

 

Wilbury Theatre Group’s current production is the 1943 Pulitzer Prize winning play “The Skin of Our Teeth” by Thornton Wilder. It opened on Broadway on November 18, 1942 and ran for 355 performances. The show also written in 1942 is an allegory on the history of mankind, told through the story of one family. It is a mixture of contemporary and biblical events and employs a farcical style seen in Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” as well as the presentational style seen in his “Our Town.” The phrase used as the title comes from the King James Bible, Job 19:20 “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.” We meet the Antrobus family and their maid, Sabina who come from New Jersey. We barely escaped the depression by the skin of our teeth exclaims Sabina as Wilder works the title of the show into the dialogue. We also meet a woolly mammoth and a dinosaur in their home which helps give the show a theatrical mixture of farce, absurdism, satire and burlesque.

 

 

The first act takes place during an impending ice age, in the second act, George becomes the President of the Fraternal Order of Mammals and the end of the world approaches once again. The first two acts are more farcical in nature because in the third act, the family emerges from a bunker after a seven year war and things become more somber and serious. It also displays the more things change the more they stay the same. We have to keep on living no matter the odds stacked against us. Josh Short uses every inch of space in his new theatre to stage this show with the performers whirling all around the audience. He infuses his large 15 member cast with an enormous amount of energy and obtains splendid performances from them.

 

 

Josh gives each performer their moment to shine in this show. He also gives them some clever shtick to keep your attention from start to finish. Melissa Penick is a hoot as Sabina who speaks directly to the audience and at times explains this section of the show should be omitted because it will offend certain people in the audience. She plays this sexy vamp wonderfully and wins many laughs along the way. Melissa also delivers the poignant message that the ending of this show hasn’t been written yet because it is the story of mankind still being told. Tom Roberts and Sarah Leach do topnotch work as Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus with their huge amount of dialogue. They interact well with each other and the whole cast. Also impressive is David Tessier as the announcer and then becomes the smarmy fortuneteller in Act 2. He strolls through the audience reading palms and declaring that impending doom is approaching. David also sings “Excitable Boy” and “For My Next Trick.”

 

Another dynamite vocalist is Shannon Hartman who plays Gladys Antrobus. She opens the third act with the gut wrenching “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” which sets the mood for the dramatic events to come. So for a wild and crazy show that suddenly becomes meaningful and dramatic by reflecting on contemporary problems that still exist in 2018, be sure to catch “The Skin of Our Teeth” by the Wilbury Theatre Group. The show has been selling out so it has been extended an extra weekend till February 11.

 

THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH (18 January to 11 February)

Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Court, Providence, RI

1(401)400-7100 or www.thewilburygroup.org

 

Take Your Pick’s “Lost Girls” – Local Laughs and Family Fanfare Plows the Stage

 

by Susan George

 

Lost Girls – Written by John Pollono; Direction and Stage Design by Melanie Garber; Lighting Designer: Michael Clark Wonson; Sound Designer: Audrey Seraphin; Costume Coordinator: Mikey DiLoreto. Presented by Take Your Pick Productions, at Deane Hall in the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston through January 21.

 

Next time you are thinkin of hittin’ Maaket Basket or the packy, bang a u-ey and instead head ovah and snag a ticket for a performance of John Pollonos’ amazingly poignant “Lost Girls”. Successfully following up last year’s fabulous “The Little Dog Laughed,” Take Your Pick Productions returns to the local stage with this superbly cast and divinely staged tragicomedy, directed by Melanie Garber.

Read more “Take Your Pick’s “Lost Girls” – Local Laughs and Family Fanfare Plows the Stage”